By Nina Crowder
Sometimes even the school board needs to go to school.
Last week’s special meeting of the Superior School District Governing Board had the school coming to them.
Julia Smock with the Arizona School Board Association (ASBA) held a workshop for the governing board. Smock discussed the school board policies and informed the board that they can change the policies and adopt them as needed. The school board establishes policies that are their responsibilities. It is the superintendent’s responsibility to translate them and put them into administrative action. There was a great deal of explaining the relationship and duties of the school board and the superintendent.
The school board and superintendent work hand in hand. Communication to the public, staff and parents plays a key role. The superintendent recommends and implements programs of school community relationships and keeps the community informed of district performance, policies, programs and procedures. The board adopts programs of school community relations and remains responsive to the community.
The school board commits to a vision of high expectations for student achievement and quality instruction and defines clear goals towards that vision. The board has shared beliefs and values about what is possible for students, their ability to learn and the system’s ability to teach all children at high levels. They are data savvy, embracing and monitoring data both positive and negative. They use data to drive continuous improvements. They align and sustain resources, such as professional development, to meet district goals and to lead as a united team with the superintendent. Together they are a strong collaboration with mutual trust.
Setting appropriate agendas, making procedures, meeting procedures and school board communication was also addressed. The most important item was communication. Board members have to communicate with the superintendent. The superintendent needs to know that the board members are following the communication policy that has been adopted for the staff and community. If a board member acts outside of policy it can damage the school board and superintendent relationship as well as create confusion and distrust among the staff and community.
The district mission statement was discussed at great length. The current mission statement is as follows: It is the mission of Superior Unified School District to provide a nurturing environment that ensures that students will be provided an opportunity to attain maximum achievement, academically, socially, culturally, physically, ethically and emotionally. Students will work toward acquiring a social academic foundation essential for achieving individual and group success and will make contributions to continually improve self and society.
This mission will be accomplished by the board, the administration, the staff and the community by cooperating as a team and working together in a positive direction with curriculum/instruction as the number one priority.
Public records, meeting agendas, open meeting laws and educational philosophy were discussed as well. The school board is operating within the Arizona School Board Association standards.
Some of the goals the school board and superintendent said they would like to see are: increased academics, ‘A’ rating for the school, programs like music and art to add to the curriculum, and handicap improvements on the facilities. Other goals include: improve staff moral, increase staff salaries, school nurse, new playground and safety equipment, improve current school website, communication with public, increased enrollment, more food options for school lunches, improve technology and increased technology education. Ms. Smock went over some different ways to try and make these goals attainable. The school board and superintendent will be having some workshops before the regularly scheduled meetings to discuss steps in obtaining these goals.
In other business, Mila Besich Lira, the Superior School Board president, recently attended a Rural Economic Development Conference. The conference provided information on different ways to obtain grants for the school, ways to develop new ideas and strategies, strengthen ability to operate, build and renew relationships, community services and economic development in rural schools, how to allow everyone the opportunity to obtain a GED and how to promote education across America.
“It was a very informative conference and I obtained a great deal of information,” Lira said.
Just a few action items were discussed as per the agenda. An additional substitute teacher, Shirley McCauley, was approved and added to the Superior Unified School District list of substitute teachers. The school board discussed and approved Food Service Manager Melissa Perez’s salary. William Duarte’s salary will be discussed at the Sept. 4 meeting.
The Superior Unified School District Board’s next regularly scheduled meeting is Sept. 4, 2013 at 7 p.m. at the John F. Kennedy Elementary Auditorium. Some of the items to be discussed are: a No Bullying Act, summer school, security and the Harding School Property. There will be a workshop for the board on Sept. 4, from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. The public is welcome to attend both meetings.